Acton Institute

Founded in April, 1990, the Acton Institute is named in honor of John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (1834-1902), 1st Baron Acton of Aldenham and the historian of freedom. Known as “the magistrate of history,” Lord Acton was one of the great personalities of the nineteenth century. Widely considered one of the most learned Englishmen of his time, Lord Acton made the history of liberty his life’s work. Indeed, his most notable conclusion of this work is that political liberty is the essential condition and guardian of religious liberty. He thereby points to the union of faith and liberty, which has been the inspiration for the mission of the Acton Institute.

The mission of the Acton Institute is to promote a free, virtuous, and humane society. This direction recognizes the benefits of a limited government, but also the beneficent consequences of a free market. It embraces an objective framework of moral values, but also recognizes and appreciates the subjective nature of economic value. It views justice as a duty of all to give the one his due but, more importantly, as an individual obligation to serve the common good and not just his own needs and wants. In order to promote a more profound understanding of the coming together of faith and liberty, the Institute involves members of religious, business, and academic spheres in its various seminars, publications, and academic activities. It is our hope that by demonstrating the compatibility of faith, liberty, and free economic activity, religious leaders and entrepreneurs can contribute by helping to shape a society that is secure, free, and virtuous.

The Calihan Academic Fellowships

The Calihan Academic Fellowships provide academic fellowships and research grants of up to $3,000 to advanced graduate students and seminarians who show outstanding potential in advancing understanding of the relationship between theology and the principles of the free and virtuous society. Such principles include recognition of human dignity, the importance of the rule of law, limited government, religious liberty, and freedom in economic life.

The Calihan Travel Grants

The Calihan Travel Grants provide travel grants of up to $3,000 to students who have been selected to present, at an academic conference, research that is relevant to the ideas promoted by the Acton Institute. Awards are also open to students who need to travel to, and perform research at, archives or libraries or to attend educational conferences that consider themes promoted by the Acton Institute.

All inquiries should be sent to:

Anthony Pienta, Research Project Coordinator
Awards and Scholarships
98 E. Fulton St. 
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

phone: (616) 454-3080
fax: (616) 454-9454
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